Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Phoebe, on her sixth birthday

To my Phoebe, on your sixth birthday,

Being your mumma is, quite simply, amazing. With you, life is musical, magical, exuberant.

You are three-quarters the way through your first year at school. You are so enthusiastic about your teacher and going to school every day that you literally hum with happiness every morning. Only once this year did I insist that you were too sick to go to school, and made you stay tucked up on the couch. You cried, insistent that your teacher would wonder where you were, and that you would miss out on something "important".

You colour-in, and draw, and write constantly. I am forever finding notes written in your beautiful, scrawly script, love letters to Daddy and Mummy and Maisie (Jack usually receives instructions). I have never seen anyone colour for hours with so much joy. If contentment could be measured in butterflies and rainbows...our lives would be utterly content.

You have finally (finally!) grown hair long enough to be braided, and one of the nicest things anyone can do for you is comment on your long hair. It is thick and wavy, and every morning when I brush it, it is full of knots. But as long as you let me do your hair, I will have to do it exactly like yours - in a "flat" - for your little sister. The Mouse might be bossy and a right little madam at times, but in her eyes, Beebee is queen.

You never stop singing. More often than not, you pootle around warbling made-up songs but you're also quite partial to a bit of 80's. If I have encouraged you in that direction...well. I could have done worse, right? You adore your ballet lessons and I love watching you prance and twirl, especially in your fairy dress-ups. You are very tall for your age - everybody comments on your height -and in your ballet troupe, you stand out. Graceful and giggly in ballet shoes, smiling and stompy in tap shoes...often it's the goofy grin that sets you apart from the others.

You have been talking about turning six for several months now. Certainly, I was asked to calculate how many 'sleeps' until your birthday about 126 sleeps ago. This year, it was all about mermaids - we made clay mermaids (and dinosaurs for the boys) at your birthday party, and ate mermaid birthday cake. When you unwrapped a mermaid story book and a copy of "The Little Mermaid' on DVD this morning, the look on your face was gorgeous. The only thing that didn't have mermaids on it was your new bike, which we surprised you with on Sunday. Since then, you have lapped the driveway a thousand times, grinning broadly under your helmet and wobbling determinedly on your training wheels. Only the unceasing rain yesterday and today stopped you. Even when we got home from school today, you rode through the puddles until your birthday dinner was ready.

This afternoon I picked you up at school, just as someone was wishing you a happy birthday. "Mumma!", you exclaimed. "Today I am six, and when I wake up in the morning I'll still be six!" Yes, my darling, you will be. Every day you grow older, and recently I stopped wishing you were a baby again and learned to appreciate the little girl you are right now. Just because you have long, lanky legs and a gap-toothed grin, even though you barely fit on my lap and are big enough now to butter your own toast, despite the fact that you think you are quite grown-up and can read your own birthday cards...you're still my little girl. And how lucky am I to be the mumma of such an amazing little girl?

Your Argie, and your grandpa would be incredibly proud of you today. They both loved your sweetness, your spunk, your quick wit. They both revelled in your hugs and kisses. They could both see your sharp Maths brain, sometimes so fast it's scary. Since your fifth birthday, they have both gone to live in the rainbow. But their love for you is still everywhere, and I know that today, both of them would have been with you as you shared your birthday with your classmates. Both of them would have laughed, watching you decorate your own cake with Jack and Maisie tonight. Both of them would have been singing to you when you blew your number 6 candle out.

Today you are six, my Phoebalina Ballerina. You are kind, funny, caring and fun. You are sweet, fiery, crazy and intensely loyal. You hang off Pa's legs for more hugs. You play the clown to get Narnie's attention. You adore your brother and sister, and can be quite the stirrer. You are clever and happy and strong, and life without you is unimaginable. I cannot even begin to describe how big my heart had to grow, just to encompass the love I have for you.

Happy sixth birthday, my beautiful girl.
With love always,
Your Mumma xxx

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Taking the sunshine when it comes

I'm here.

I'm in the background, behind the scenes. I have been for a while.

I have so much to say, and no idea how to say it.

So, for now, all I will say is this. My little family is broken. I am trying so very hard to fix it.

Today, being Father's Day, illustrated everything that is right and good in my family. I hope to build on that.

I watched my children today with their Daddy. They showered him in love and smiles, because they would expect nothing less. It was a beautiful day, spent trawling the city in the sunshine. We let them run in circles and eat lollies. The Mouse kept wishing her Daddy a "happy Muvvers day". The kids were happy, most of the time, which made a big change from real life.

I watched my children tonight with their Pa. They kicked the footy, shrieked, laughed, and ate sausages. They got blue playdough everywhere. They played with their little cousin, and teased their uncle, and asked Aunty Miffy a thousand questions. They ate every single bit of fruit that Narnie cut up for them, and asked for more. I haven't heard Jack laugh that hard in ages. About 7 weeks, to be precise. It was so nice. Being normal.

My Dad - he is, and always has been, my mate. Put us together in front of Fawlty Towers, and we're a lost cause. I have always been so aware of how lucky I am to have a brilliant Dad. Tonight, I was reminded how lucky my kids are that they have such a wonderful Pa. The way he made them giggle and chase the footy tonight - it was exactly what I have needed to see and hear for weeks.

Seeing my happy little tribe this evening, you would have been forgiven for not realising something was amiss. You wouldn't know that my kids couldn't wish their Grandpa a happy Father's Day. You wouldn't see the grief in my husband's eyes, the fatherless father putting on a brave face for his babies. Thank heavens for the family we do have, and for their ability to surround us and our kids with love, to smooth out the edges on quite a long, emotional day.

My little family is broken. But the pieces that we are gluing back together are quite beautiful. Even when we are put back together, the cracks will still be visible. But with my whole family wrapping their arms around us, we will hold together. I'm sure of it.